It might take more than just higher pay to draw riders back. Manny Leyva, who has driven for ride-share companies for about five years, said some drivers are reluctant to return because of carjackings in the city. Some he knows have taken other jobs they perceive as safer.
He has given rides with unusually high prices, he said, but said the high fares seem only sometimes to be passed on in his earnings.
Kellman said what drivers are paid for individual trips don’t necessarily reflect the price increases because driver earnings are based on a variety of factors, including base pay, the location of the trip and the time of day.
Increasing ride-share prices won’t necessarily translate to a boost for taxis, Sriraj said. Ride-share passengers are driven less by price and more by their comfort and the necessity of their trip, and the ride-share companies will likely withstand the price increases, he said.
“Taxis, on the other hand, are still your dad’s mode of travel, if you will,” he said.
And taxis, too, are facing the same shortage of drivers that ride-share companies are, taxi association owners said.
City Service Taxi Association has had more calls for taxi rides since ride-share prices have risen, but with fewer drivers the company has had trouble dispatching orders, said association President Comey Dilanjian.
Drivers are trickling back, but it’s been slow, he said. Out of the 350 taxis affiliated with his association pre-pandemic, about 80 are back on the road. He attributes the taxi driver shortage to enhanced unemployment benefits.
He is hoping an upgrade to the Curb app that shows upfront pricing will help taxis compete with ride-shares. And he thinks eventually, ride-share passengers will become fed up with higher prices.
“You can get away with that for so long, and then you’re going to turn your customers off,” he said. “If we can provide the services for their customers at a fair price, I think we’ll maybe gain some of that market share.”©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.